Regime’s Ambassador denounces UN report on extent of sieges
The Assad regime, responsible for the blocking of aid to hundreds of thousands of Syrians, has denounced a UN report documenting the cut-offs.
The regime’s UN Ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari told the Security Council that “unilateral economic measures imposed on the Syrian people” — US- and European-led sanctions — are “behind the negative repercussions”. He added that “the terrorism of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra organizations” caused further issues, as well as “non-commitment of the donor countries” to response plans.
Jaafari made no reference to the refusal of the Assad regime to grant permission for aid convoy for almost three months, the longest suspension in the 76-month conflict. Instead, he proclaimed that the regime “spares no effort to improve the lives of citizens in all regions without discrimination”.
Jaafari was lashing out at the latest UN monthly report about the humanitarian situation, which found 540,000 people in 11 locations — almost all opposition territory surrounded by pro-Assad forces — are still besieged, while 4 million Syrians are hard to reach. Only six “hard-to-reach” areas have received aid since April.
Activists say the total of besieged Syrians is closer to a million. In addition to the regime’s sieges, the Islamic State is still cutting off pro-regime areas in Deir ez-Zor Province in eastern Syria. About 7,000 people in the regime enclaves of Kafraya and al-Fu’ah, north of Idlib city, are surrounded by rebels.
“I affirm, unfortunately, that the target of the monthly report was deliberately substituted from focusing on the difficulties that face the humanitarian access in Syria into exploiting the report by some permanent member states and making it a means to defame the Syrian government and exert pressure on it,” al-Jaafari insisted.
The Ambassador claimed that the report criticized “national reconciliations” — the regime’s term for capitulations by opposition areas — and thus “politically supports terrorists and their financiers”.
Report: US-Led Coalition Kills 120+ Civilians in 72 Hours in Raqqa
The opposition site al-Dorar says the US-led coalition has killed more than 120 civilians in and near Raqqa in northern Syria in the past 72 hours.
The coalition’s airstrikes are supporting the offensive by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces against the Islamic State’s central position in Syria. The SDF has taken about 50% of the city, but its advance has slowed in recent weeks amid ISIS resistance.
Al-Dorar said a coalition strike on Friday evening killed 15 members of a single family, including seven children and three women.
The UN and the monitoring site Airwars have each said that hundreds of civilians have been killed since March by the coalition’s operations.